Arlene Shechet’s recent glazed ceramic objects float, twist, and puff up atop stacks of unadorned concrete, plaster, wood, and steel. While Shechet has worked in sculpture for over two decades, these new works shift away from her earlier explorations of iconographic Buddhist imagery toward more abstract forms and combinations. Confounding any single reading, they hover in the fertile space between East and West, secular and sacred, and modern and ancient.
Shechet’s modeled surfaces demonstrate how clay mirrors the artist’s touch. Her objects bear the mark and memory of her hands. The sculpture’s bulges, hollows, spouts, and holes evoke bodily features, and as the artist notes, are “suggestive of the curving forms found in classical Indian sculpture.” By coating the clay with eccentric color combinations and metallic glazes — created with an experimental disregard for traditional firing temperatures — Shechet not only fractures the objects’ surfaces but also undermines any single association with nature. Seeming to expand and deflate like a breath, Shechet’s dynamic works continually transform, as they reappear anew moment by moment.